English rendering of PM’s address in the 18th Episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat 2.0’ on 29.11.2020
My dear countrymen, Namaskar! I want to share a good news with you all at the beginning of Mann ki Baat today. Every Indian will be proud to know that a very oldidol of Devi Annapurna is returning to India from Canada. This idol was stolen from a temple of Varanasi and smuggled out of the country around 100 years ago somewhere around 1913. I express my gratitude to the Government of Canada and to all those for this large heartedness who made this propitious deed possible. Mata Annapoorna has a very special relationship with Kashi. Now the coming back of her Idol is pleasing for all of us. Just like the idol of Mata Annapurna, a lot of our invaluable heritage has suffered at the handsof International gangs. These gangs sell them at a very high pricein the international market. Now not only are they being subjected to heavy restrictions; India has also increased her efforts for their return. Because of such efforts, India has been successfulin bringing back lots of such idols and artifacts in the past few years.There is a coincidenceattached with the return of theidol of Mata Annapurna… World Heritage Week was celebrated only a few days ago. World Heritage Week provides a wonderful opportunity to the lovers of culture to revisit the past and to know about the history of these important milestones. In spite of these times of corona, this time, we saw people celebrate this Heritage week in an innovative manner. Culture helps a lot during crisis, plays a major role in handling it. Even with the help of technology, culture works like an emotional recharge. Today, lots of museums and libraries in the country are working to make their collection fully digital. In Delhi, our National museum has made some commendable efforts in this respect. National museum is working on introducing around ten virtual galleries- isn’t this interesting! Now, sitting at your home, you can tour National Museum galleries of Delhi. On the one hand it is important to take cultural heritage to the maximum number of people through the medium of technology, the use of technology is also important for the conservation of this heritage. Recently I was reading about an interesting project. There is an island named Svalbard in the north of Norway. A project,Arctic World Archive has been set upon this island. Invaluable heritage data has been stored in this archive in such a manner that no natural or man made disaster can affect it. Just recently,we have received information that the heritage of Ajanta caves is also being digitized and preserved in this project. A full view of the caves of Ajanta shall be on display in this. Along with the digitalized and restored painting, it shall also have important documents and quotes related to it. Friends, the pandemic has on the one hand changed our ways of working; on the other it has provided us with an opportunity to experience nature in a new manner. Our perspective in observing nature has also undergone a change. We are now stepping into the winter season. We will get to see myriad hues of nature. For the past few days Internet is full of viral pictures of Cherry Blossoms. You might be thinking that when I am referring to Cherry Blossoms I am talking about Japan’s distinct identity but it’s not like that. These are not pictures of Japan. These are pictures of Shillong of our Meghalaya. These cherry blossoms have further enhanced the beauty of Meghalaya.